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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

20 April 2021 Venue University of Bolton Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: Tuesday night at Bolton

The games keep coming thick and fast

19 April 2021

Bolton are currently pushing for an immediate return to League One as they sit in third spot following an excellent recent run.


There was sad news for their fans last week though when news broke that Doug Holden, the last surviving member of the Stanley Matthews FA Cup final in 1953, had passed away at the age of 90.

The England international was part of the team that was naarrowly beaten by Blackpool 4-3 in one of the most memorable cup games ever, and spent 11 seasons with the club.

He put that defeat behind him when he won the FA Cup in the 1957/58 season. He made 463 appearances for the Wanderers, scoring 44 goals.


It appeared that Bolton were going to have to resign themselves to another season in League Two as they struggled to find results through the first half of the season, and that indifferent form continued into January, despite more work being done in the transfer window. 

But then came February.

Something clicked as a home draw with Morecambe at the beginning of that month was followed by a home win over Stevenage.

Those results became part of a run of 16 games that brought them 12 wins, three draws and just the one defeat - that was on Easter Monday at Newport.

The haul of 39 points from a possible 48 catapulted Wanderers into the automatic places. They haven't smashed the ball out of the park in terms of goals scored (52), and the number of goals conceded - 47 - is about par for the division at this time of year, but they are extremely hard to beat and full of confidence.

They were at Grimsby on Saturday, and it was back down to earth with a bump as the division's bottom team scored early, and late, to establish an unlikely two-goal advantage. Even am injury time strike from former-United forward Shaun Miller wasn't enough to stave off the defeat.

who watch

17 goals in 40 games - it's predictable, but it has to be Eoin Doyle who gets the nod as the one to watch for this game.

He tends to lead the line just in front of the attacking support line, but he's adpatable, and most definitely a threat. 

His goals come from inside and outside the area, and he likes to work off the shoulder as he hunts for space.

As for familiar faces, we could see Brandon Comley, Arthur Gnahoua, Gethin Jones or Shaun Miller again - all have played for the Blues in recent seasons.


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The first meeting of these teams for over 30 years was at Brunton Park on Boxing Day in 2020 ... and what a game it turned out to be.

Weather conditions were beyond awful, but the Blues came out of the traps quickly to establish a three-goal lead courtesy of strikes from Aaron Hayden, Lewis Alessandra and Omari Patrick. 

George Thomason nabbed one back just before the break, and Bolton clawed their way back into it to earn a point courtesy of goals in the last five minutes from Nathan Delfouneso and Peter Kioso (who was subsequently sent off).

The highlights from that game are here:


Referee - Martin Coy
Assistant Referee 1 - Simon Clayton
Assistant Referee 2 - Richard Wigglesworth
Fourth Official - James Adcock
Observer - Mark Brown

Martin Coy

The referee for this fixture is Mr Martin Coy. 

Martin has taken charge of 28 games so far this season and has shown 72 yellow cards and five reds.

He was with us in January 2021 for a 1-0 home win over Exeter. Lewis Alessandra scored the goal, and Nick Anderton was the only booking on the day.

The December trip to Harrogate turned into an interesting evening as dipping temperatures sent an already struggling pitch over the edge. Just eight minutes into the game, and with the hosts a goal to the good, Mr Coy deemed that the surface had become too dangerous and United's first ever trip to Wetherby Road was cut short with the match abandoned due to safety reasons.

He was at Brunton Park in October 2020 for the 3-2 home win over Colchester where goals from Lewi Alessandra and Jon Mellish gave us a two-goal cushion. The U's pegged us back with strikes either side of the break, but Aaron Hayden sealed a deserved win with a late goal. Callum Guy, Jon Mellish and Joe Riley were booked on the afternoon.

We also had him for our 3-0 home defeat against Plymouth in January 2020. Aaron Hayden was sent off in the final minute of that fixture as tensions ran high. 

Prior to that he was here for the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Port Vale back in November 2019.

Ryan Loft put us ahead with just one minute on the clock, but second half goals from Worrall and Cullen took the points the way of the hosts. Loft and Canice Carroll had their names taken on the day.

We saw him twice in the 2018/19 season, with our first meeting for the home defeat against Grimsby in October. The goal came in the first half from Luke Hendrie, but there were no United names entered into the book.

He was back here a month later for the 1-1 Checkatrade Trophy meeting with Stoke City under-21s. Jack Sowerby scored the goal and Gary Liddle was shown a yellow card. 

He was with us three times during the 2017/18 season, with his first visit up north coming in August 2017 for our 3-0 home victory over Cheltenham. Tom Miller and Reggie Lambe added to a fifth minute own goal from Harry Pell, and Mark Ellis was the only Carlisle booking on the day.

We saw him again for our November Checkatrade Trophy group game against Fleetwood, where a certain Jack Sowerby opened the scoring on the night. Wes Burns doubled the lead just before half time, and a late Shaun Miller goal did little to affect the outcome as the visitors took the win come full time. Tom Miller and Jamie Devitt received yellow cards that night.

His last trip to Brunton Park during that campaign was for our 2-2 draw with Crawley in March. Richie Bennett and Hallam Hope appeared to have done the job with goals to give us a 2-0 lead, but the Red Devils recovered and claimed their point courtesy of a brace from Kalen Grant. United names taken were Clint Hill, Hallam Hope and Tom Parkes.


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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Bolton 1 - 0 United

Report from the Tuesday night away game

20 April 2021

United were unbeaten in six as they headed to the University of Bolton Stadium, but they knew they were in for a battle with the Wanderers sat in the third automatic promotion spot ahead of kick off.

There were two changes from the weekend draw with Port Vale, with George Tanner in at right back for Danny Devine, and Josh Kayode in to replace the injured Ozzy Zanzala.

United pressed well from the kick off with Alessandra looking lively on the edge of the box. He jinked his way past two challenges, but Williams was there to close the door. Riley recycled it, and Armer was involved as he tried to make headway down the left flank. A cross spooned up off Jones but Isgrove thundered it clear.

A great flick from Patrick from an Alessandra throw brought a corner, and Guy swept it neatly towards the front stick. Kayode met it on the run, but it hit Thomason as it angled on its way to the target. That rebound came off the big forward and it dropped harmlessly wide, via the post.

There was bad news for the away side on nine minutes when Rod McDonald fell to the floor, having just completed a clearance. Nick Anderton was given the nod from the bench, and he slotted into the now vacant central defender's position.

Quick thinking from Alessandra saw him steal a loose pass midway inside the Bolton half and his touches on the run took him one-on-one with Gilks. A block on the lunge from Santos made the shot an easy one to gather for the relieved keeper.

Wanderers responded with a quick break which saw Doyle back heel a pass to the overlapping Jones. He drilled it low, across the face of goal, but there was nobody there to finish it off.

The hosts stayed forward, and Afolayan did well to make room for a cross as he went past Riley tight by the corner flag. Anderton did well to deal with the delivery.

Bolton came again and Afolayan dropped a shoulder before sending John into the box. He floated it to Doyle, who was at the back stick, and he thought he'd done everything right as he guided his header over keeper Paul Farman. Anderton had back tracked and he made a vital goal line clearance.

It was end-to-end, with Patrick showing pace at one end and Jones doing the same at the other. But it was the hosts who asked the next question when Afolayan and Lee combined to send John through. He pulled it back for Isgrove, but his effort was charged down at 18-yards.

Hayden made that block, and he did the same seconds later when Doyle took it under his wing with his back to goal. He spun, but the big defender was there to intervene.

Wanderers took the lead just before the half hour when Afolayan shrugged off a challenge tight by the touchline. He arrowed towards the penalty area and a low, fizzed shot on the run crashed back off the base of the post. The predatory Eoin Doyle was there to nudge the rebound into the waiting net, with United's appeals for offside ignored.

United had two corners on the bounce as they looked to respond, with the first spiralling over the bar as Santos got there first. Armer did the same when he met the next outswinger from Guy on the full.

Strong work from Alessandra when he was in a tight spot took him beyond John, and the quaity of his cross didn't disappoint. Kayode threw himself at it but his touch took it across the face of the nets.

A free kick from deep from Guy was kept alive by Hayden, and then Patrick, with the visitors sending plenty forward. Patrick clipped it into the mix, and Hayden cushioned it for Anderton to volley. That struck a body and went behind for a corner.

Guy pumped that one low, and it seemed to stick on the ground for an age before Isgrove smacked it away to safety. It just wouldn't settle as Kayode and Alessandra both stretched boots at it.

It was a scrappy start to the second period but United won a corner when an Alessandra throw was nodded behind. Gilks was off his line smartly to claim the resulting cross.

Left back Jack Armer was invited to go on a run by a pass from Riley and he skipped past his man before finding the six-yard box. Unfortunately Gilks was first to the ball.

There were loud appeals for a Bolton penalty when Tanner challenged Afolayan when he went on a sprint, but the officials turned away after a short period of deliberation.

A surge from Mellish had Alessandra in support as the pair tried to make something happen, but the cross from the midfielder was comfortable for the keeper.

An ambitious effort from Furman from 25-yards went high and wide as the visitors kept probing, and Bolton showed that they still had attacking intent when a training ground corner routine saw John use Lee before Brockbank was lined up for a shot. He caught it well but it ripped just over the bar.

Santos dealt with a curler from Armer that threatened to cause problems, but the defender did well to get to the loose pieces to guide it towards Kayode. There was a moment of hesitation and the chance was gone.

Armer was the supply line again when he sent a reverse pass from Patrick into the mix. Guy ducked under it, and Alessandra controlled well as he saw it late. Eight-yards out he moved into space, but his eventual shot was blocked.

The Cumbrians were even closer when another patient build up put Patrick in an advanced position. He flashed the cross low but Kayode couldn't quite get there, despite launching himself at it.

Carlisle kept going, and Mellish burst through lines to pull the ball back. Gilks gratefully put it behind with a wave of his leg. Another run of corners kept the hopes of an equaliser alive, but that spell of pressure came to an end when Armer put a header high when he came under close attention from two defenders.

Substitute Gime Toure had a speculative attempt from distance diverted by Santos, and a cross from the same man found Mellish on the move inside the box. He let fly on the turn and another corner was won. That came to nothing as Hayden headed it past the upright.

Mellish sent another Guy corner the same way, with Farman also up in attendance as the orange shirts chucked everything at it, and a Kayode long throw was cleared only as far as Alessandra. A rasper touched a Bolton man, and that was enough to take it high.

Yet another excellent Guy inswinger pinged around, but Gilks fell to the floor and the referee had to blow the whistle to allow treatment to be given. 

The orange shirts had pushed and pushed, and the Bolton contingent greeted the final whistle with a loud roar, and some amount of relief that they'd seen off a real challenge.



Bolton Wanderers - Doyle (28)



Bolton Wanderers - Santos (61)

Carlisle United - Riley (56)



Bolton Wanderers - Gilks, Jones, Williams, Santos, Doyle (c), Isgrove (Elbouzedi 76), Thomason, Baptiste, John (Brockbank 59), Lee, Afolayan (Delfouneso 72). Subs - Delaney, Tutte, Miller, Gnahoua.

Carlisle United - Farman, Tanner, Hayden (c), McDonald (Anderton 9), Armer, Riley (Furman 57), Guy, Mellish, Patrick (Toure 76), Kayode, Alessandra. Subs - Norman (gk), Devine, Charters, Walker.


Match officials

Referee - Martin Coy
Assistant Referee 1 - Simon Clayton
Assistant Referee 2 - Richard Wigglesworth
Fourth Official - James Adcock
Observer - Mark Brown


Attendance - BCD

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